Drew Barrymore at centre of firestorm over show’s production during strike

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Los Angeles: Actor Drew Barrymore issued a video apology to striking Hollywood writers on Friday but said she will go forward with plans to resume her talk show next week.

Barrymore has been subject to protests by members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) who argue that she is violating terms of their work stoppage by filming new episodes of The Drew Barrymore Show. The first is scheduled to air on Monday.

Actor producer Drew Barrymore.Credit: AP

In a video posted on Instagram, Barrymore’s voice quivered as she addressed the backlash.

“I deeply apologise to writers. I deeply apologise to unions,” she said.

Barrymore said she decided to go forward in part because “other people’s jobs are on the line.” Thousands of crew members have been out of work since the WGA strike began in May and shut down production.

More filming ground to a halt when members of the SAG-AFTRA actors union walked off the job in July.

In addition, Barrymore said she “wanted to make a show that was there for people in sensitive times.”

Barrymore repeated that she believes her show will comply with strike restrictions.

“There’s nothing I can do to make this OK to those this is not OK with,” she added. “I fully accept that.”

Other talk shows also are planning to return to TV shortly. Real Time host Bill Maher said he was bringing back his HBO show without written pieces such as a monologue and will focus on debates with guests.

The WGA said it was “difficult to imagine” how Maher, a WGA member, could host the show and still comply with strike rules. The union said members would picket the filming of Real Time.

The strike in Hollywood continues as labour relations take centre stage in US politics.

US autoworkers walked off the job on Friday at Detroit’s largest car companies, accusing them of enjoying record profits without sharing them fairly with employees.

The United Auto Workers strike at three factories owned by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler-owner Stellantis kicked off the most ambitious US industrial labour action in decades.

US President Joe Biden called on automakers to concede more to workers, accusing them of enjoying record profits without sharing them fairly with workers.


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